Adolf Hitler


Speech by the Führer and Reich Chancellor

at the Langer Market

in Danzig

Tuesday, September 19, 1939





My Gauleiter! My dear fellow-countrymen and fellow-countrywomen of Danzig!

You are not alone in experiencing this moment with the deepest emotion; the whole German nation is experiencing it too. I myself am conscious of the greatness of this hour. For the first time I am treading upon soil of which German settlers had taken possession five hundred years before the first white men settled in what is today New York State. It is thus five hundred years longer that this soil was German, had remained German and will—of this we may all be convinced—remain German.

The fate which this town and this beautiful country have experienced has been the fate of the whole of Germany. The World War, the most senseless struggle of all time, numbers this country and this town among its victims, the World War which brought losses to all and gains to none, the World War which after its close must have left every one of us firmly convinced that a similar fate should never overtake us again, and which unfortunately today appears to have been forgotten by the very people who at that time were the main inciters to war and probably also the parties chiefly interested in that universal slaughter. When the murderous conflict of those days, into which Germany entered without any aims of war, came to an end, humanity was to be assured a peace which would lead to a rebirth of justice and thereby to a final abolition of all distress. At Versailles this peace was not put before our nation as a matter for free negotiation, but was forced upon us as a brutal dictate. The progenitors of this peace visualized in it the end of the German nation. There may have been many people who believed that this peace would mean the end of all distress, yet it was only the beginning of new entanglements. There was however one point where those who instigated and ended that war were mistaken. By their peace they did not succeed in solving a single problem, but only created countless new ones. It was only a question of time until the German nation, which they had trampled under foot, would rise up again in order to find, of its own accord, a solution for the problems which had been forced on it. For the essential problem was completely overlooked in those days, namely, the fact that nations happen to exist, irrespective of whether this may or may not suit this or that British war-monger. The fact remains that eighty-two million Germans are united in this living space, and that these eighty-two millions want to live and shall live, even if this should again not happen to suit the war-mongers. The grossest injustice was done to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. If a statesman of another nation considers himself justified in declaring today that he has no confidence in the word of German statesmen and of the German nation, then we Germans have the right to reply that we lack all confidence in the assurances of those who at that time so miserably broke their most solemn promises.

I do not intend to speak about the injustices of Versailles. Perhaps the worst thing in the lives of the nations is not so much the injustice, but the senselessness, the folly, and the utter stupidity with which in those days a peace was imposed upon the world, that completely disregarded all historical, economic, national and political facts. Regulations were arrived at which actually force one to doubt whether the men who perpetrated them were really in their right mind. Devoid of all knowledge of the historical development of these districts, devoid even of all economic understanding, these people juggled about with Europe, tore States apart, divided up countries, suppressed and handed over nations, destroyed culture.

This land, too, was a victim of that madness and the Polish State itself a product of this folly. What Germany had to sacrifice for this Polish State the world probably does not know. One thing only I should like to declare here: The development of all the territories which were at that time incorporated into Poland is entirely due to German energy, German industry, and German creative work. They owe their cultural importance exclusively to the German nation.

At that time the pretext for rending more than a whole province from the Reich and for allocating it to this new Polish State was that it was a matter of racial necessity. Actually the plebiscite held at a later date showed in every case that nobody really had any desire to be incorporated in this Polish State. This same Poland which owes its existence to the supreme sacrifice of countless German regiments, expanded, without regard for reason or economic considerations, at the expense of territory in which Germans had settled centuries ago. One thing has been clearly proved during the last twenty years. The Poles, who were not responsible for the introduction of this culture, were not even able to preserve it. It has become evident once more that only those who are themselves gifted with creative power are capable of sustained and genuine cultural achievement. Another fifty years of Polish rule would have sufficed to reduce once more to barbarism these districts which Germans by their painstaking efforts and zeal had redeemed from a state of savagery. Symptoms of such a relapse and decay were already apparent everywhere.

Yet Poland herself was a State composed of various nationalities; that very thing was created which had been regarded as a primary fault in the old Austrian State.

Actually, Poland never was a democracy. An infinitesimal, degenerate upper class ruled not only over foreign nationalities, but also over what they called their own people. It was a State ruled by brute force, by the police and, as a last resort, also by the army. The lot of the Germans in this country was terrible. There is a considerable difference whether a people of inferior cultural importance has the misfortune of being ruled over by culturally superiors or whether a people with higher cultural standards has to endure the tragic fate of having to submit to a rule of violence inflicted by an inferior people, for this inferior people will develop all kinds of inferiority complexes and the reaction will make them turn against the superior and cultured people whom they will cruelly and barbarously ill-treat. The Germans have had to endure this fate for close on twenty years.

There is no need for me to describe in detail the lot of the Germans. It was, as I have already emphasized, both tragic and deplorable. Nevertheless, here as in every other instance I tried to reach a settlement which might have led to an equitable compromise. I once did my best to achieve a final settlement of the frontiers, first in the West and later in the South of the Reich, to eliminate the element of danger in the provinces concerned and to secure peace in the future. I did my utmost to achieve the same here. At that time there was in Poland a man whose insight and energy were incontestable. I succeeded in coming to an agreement with the late Marshall Pilsudski, which was intended to pave the way towards a peaceful understanding between the two nations, an agreement which, from the outset, did not sanction anything that was created by the Treaty of Versailles, but which endeavored to lay at least the foundations for a reasonable and tolerable side-by-side existence by completely ignoring that treaty.

As long as the Marshall was alive it seemed as if this attempt might indeed lead to an improvement of the tense situation. Immediately after his death, however, an intensified anti-German campaign began. This campaign, which took numerous and varied forms, embittered and complicated the relations between the two nations in an increasing degree. In the long run it was extremely difficult to look on patiently while in a neighboring country, whose very existence had caused grievous harm to Germany, the German minorities were being persecuted in the most barbarous way. The world, ready to shed tears whenever a Polish Jew who immigrated into Germany only a comparatively short time ago is turned out—this same world remained absolutely deaf to the sufferings of those who, in compliance with the Treaty of Versailles, were forced to leave their native land not by the thousand, but by the million. The world was deaf for the simple reason that they were Germans.

The fact, which for all of us was not only depressing, but at the same time infuriating, was that we had to submit to all this at the hands of a State which was vastly inferior to us. After all Germany was undeniably a Great Power, even though a few madmen believed that they could abolish the vital rights of a great nation by means of an insane or an enforced treaty.

How could a Great Power like Germany be expected to look on how a much inferior people and a much inferior State maltreated Germans in these territories? Two conditions in particular were quite unbearable. Firstly, a city, whose German character could not be contested by anyone, was not only prevented from finding its way back to the Reich, but an attempt was also made to colonize it systematically and gradually by a thousand means and ways. Secondly, communication with a province separated from the German Reich was interfered with by all kinds of petty chicanes or made dependent on the benevolent attitude of the Polish State. No other power in the world would have put up with such conditions for so long a time as Germany did. I cannot imagine what England for instance would have said to a similar solution, purporting to establish peace at her expense, or how France or the United States of America would have accepted such a solution.

I tried to find ways and means for a bearable solution of this problem also. These endeavors I submitted in the form of verbal proposals to the former Polish rulers. With these proposals you are all familiar; they were more than reasonable. I attempted to arrive at an understanding doing justice to our desire to re-establish a connection between East Prussia and the Reich, and the desire of the Poles to retain access to the sea. Above all, I tried to find a synthesis between the German character of the city of Danzig and its firm resolve to return to the German Reich, on the one hand, and the economic demands of the Poles, on the other. I consider myself justified in saying that at that time I was more than modest. There were moments when I reflected and asked myself over and over again whether before my own people I could take the responsibility of submitting such proposals for a solution to the Polish Government. My only reason for doing so was that I was anxious to spare both the German and the Polish peoples the sufferings resulting from another conflict.

During the course of this spring I have again repeated this offer in the most concrete form.

Danzig was to return to the Reich. An exterritorial road was to be built to East Prussia—at our expense of course. In return Poland was to receive the most extensive Free Port rights, and similar exterritorial access. I, on the other hand, on top of that, was prepared to guarantee the existing frontiers, hardly bearable as they were, and finally to let Poland participate in guaranteeing the safety of Slovakia. I cannot imagine what a state of mind the Polish Government was in when it rejected these proposals. I do know, however, that untold millions of Germans gave a sigh of relief because they were of the opinion that in making those proposals I had gone too far.

Poland's reply was to order the first mobilization, immediately followed by ferocious terrorism. My request to the then Polish Foreign Minister to visit me in Berlin in order to discuss this question with me once more was rejected. Instead of coming to Berlin, he went to London!

There followed those weeks and months of ever-increasing threats, threats hard to bear for a small State, but absolutely unbearable in the long run for any Great Power. In Polish papers we could read that Danzig was not the problem, but rather East Prussia, and that Poland ought to annex East Prussia before long. These threats finally went into extremes. Other Polish papers declared that even East Prussia meant no solution of the problem, but that Pomerania too ought under all circumstances to become a part of Poland, and finally it was declared doubtful whether the Oder would do as a boundary because in reality the natural Polish boundary was not the Oder but the Elbe! The only thing about which people racked their brains was whether our army was to be torn to shreds this side or the other side of Berlin. A Polish general who has now miserably left his army in the lurch, declared that he would hack Germany and the German army to pieces.

Simultaneously a veritable martyrdom began for our German brothers in Poland. Tens of thousands of them were brutally driven away, maltreated or put to death in the cruelest manner; sadistic maniacs gave way to their perverse instincts, and the pious democratic world looked on calmly without raising a finger.

I have often asked myself the question: Who can have blinded Poland? Did they really think that the German nation would for any length of time tolerate such behavior on the part of so ludicrous a State? Evidently it was believed, because from a certain quarter the Poles were told that it might be possible; from the same quarter where the chief war-mongers have sat not just for the last twenty years or so, but for hundreds of years, and where they still sit today. It was stated by them that Germany was negligible as a power; they made the Poles believe that they would not have the slightest difficulty in opposing Germany; they actually went one step further: the Poles were finally given the assurance that if their own power of resistance was not strong enough, they might at any time count on the resistance, that is, the assistance of the other party. They gave that marvelous guarantee which empowered a megalomaniac small State to start a war or, alternatively, not to start one.

To these men, indeed, Poland was only a means to an end. For today they admit quite frankly that they were not primarily concerned with Poland but with the German regime. I always warned you of these men. You will remember my speeches at Saarbrücken and at Wilhelmshaven. In both these speeches, I pointed to the dangers which must arise when, in a country, men can simply get up and freely preach war as a necessity as, for instance, Messrs. Churchill, Eden, Duff Cooper, etc. etc. I pointed out how dangerous this could be, especially in a country in which one can never be certain whether these men will not shortly enter the government. I was told at the time that that would never be the case.

In my opinion they are the government now. So what I foresaw then has come true. At that time, I decided to warn the German nation for the first time of these men, and to leave no doubt that Germany would under no circumstances capitulate again before the threats and not even before the brute force of these men.

This answer of mine was most fiercely attacked in those days. For a certain practice has gradually developed in these democracies, which consists in war-mongering being permitted in democracies. Foreign regimes, foreign statesmen, and foreign heads of State may be attacked, maligned, insulted and vilified, because freedom of speech and of the press prevails there. In the totalitarian States, on the other hand, one is not allowed to defend oneself, for there discipline prevails. It follows therefore that war-mongering is only permissible in undisciplined States, while in disciplined States no answer may be given. In practice, this would lead to the nations in undisciplined States being incited to war, whereas in the so-called disciplined States the nations have no notion of what is happening. I therefore resolved to inform the German nation gradually of the machinations of this criminal clique and I thus gradually awoke in the German nation that defensive attitude of mind which I considered necessary, lest it should one day be taken by surprise.

By September the situation had become untenable. You are familiar with the developments of those days in August. I still believe that without the British guarantee and the agitation of the war-mongers it would have been possible during last August to arrive at an understanding. There was a certain moment when England herself tried to arrange for direct discussions between ourselves and Poland, for which I was quite prepared; the Poles, however, failed to turn up. For two whole days I and my Government waited in vain in Berlin. In the meantime I had worked out a new proposition, which is known to you. On the evening of the first day I had it communicated to the British Ambassador in Berlin, to whom it was read sentence for sentence, additional comment being given by my Foreign Minister. The next day came and nothing happened, except for the Polish general mobilization, fresh acts of terror and countless attacks upon Reich territory.

In the life of peoples, too, patience should not always be mistaken for weakness. With unbounded patience I have for years and years watched these continuous provocations. Only few people can really judge of what I suffered during this long time, when hardly a month passed, nay, hardly a week, during which not one or the other deputation came to me from these territories, describing to me the unbearable situation of the Germans and imploring me again and again to intervene. I have always asked them to try just once more. This went on year after year. But in recent times I occasionally expressed a warning to the effect that some day an end must be put to this state of affairs; and now after months and months of waiting and ever fresh proposals, I finally decided—as I already said before the Reichstag—to talk to Poland in exactly the same language in which the Poles considered themselves entitled to talk to us, that is to say, the only language which they, apparently, are able to understand.

Even at that moment peace might still once more have been saved. Our friend Italy, that is to say the Duce, intervened and made a proposal for the adjustment of the questions at issue. France agreed, and I, too, expressed my consent. Great Britain again rejected this proposal and instead believed herself entitled to present the German Reich with an ultimatum limited to two hours and containing an impossible demand. The British were laboring under one great misapprehension: in November 1918 there was a German Government "kept" by them, and they are mistaking the present German regime for the one "kept" by them, and the present German nation with the then misled and deluded German people. Present-day Germany refuses to be offered any ultimatums, of which we would have London take notice!

During the last six years we had to put up with unheard-of things from States like Poland, yet I never sent any ultimatums. I know that Poland, in choosing war, did so because others instigated her to start a war, that is to say, those others who believed that they might use this war to carry through their biggest world-political and financial transaction. It will not only not be their biggest business transaction, but also their greatest disappointment!

Poland has sown war and reaped war. She has light-heartedly thrown [down] the gauntlet because certain Western statesmen had assured her that they possessed exact information regarding the inefficiency of the German army, the inferiority of its equipment, the poor morale of our troops, the defeatist fooling among the population of the Reich, and the discrepancy alleged to prevail between the German people and their leaders. The Poles had been talked into the belief that it would be an easy matter for them not only to resist but also to repulse our armies. And it was upon such advice given to Poland by Western General Staff members that she made her plans for her military operations!

In the meantime, only 18 days have passed, and there is hardly a case in history where the old saying:

"The Lord hath beaten them,—
Horse, man and chariot"

could be applied more aptly.

While I am addressing you here, our troops occupy a line extending from Lemberg to Brest and further to the north, and at this very moment, in fact since yesterday afternoon, endless columns of the beaten Polish army are leaving the Kutno region as prisoners. Yesterday morning they numbered 20,000, last night 50,000, this morning 70,000, and I don't know what their number is now. One thing, however, I know for certain, whatever formations of the Polish army stand west of that line will capitulate, surrender arms or be annihilated within a few days.

At this moment our grateful hearts turn to our men. The German armed forces have given these talented statesmen, who were so well informed about conditions in the Reich, the necessary demonstration in kind. Marshall Rydz-Smigly lost his bearings. He was last heard of in Czernowitz instead of in Berlin and with him were his whole Government and all the deceivers who drove the Polish people into that act of insanity.

The German soldiers have done their duty to the utmost, on land, at sea and in the air. The German infantry has again shown itself to be the incomparable master of the situation. Its bravery, its courage and its efficiency have often been aspired to but never equaled. The up-to-date equipment of our mechanized units has proved to be of high excellence. The men of our navy do their duty admirably, while the German air force keeps watch over everything and guards German territory. The people who dreamed of crushing Germany and of razing German cities to the ground have grown very silent, because they know perfectly well that for every bomb dropped on a German town five or ten would be returned. But do not let them now pretend that they are adopting this method of warfare out of sheer humanity! It is not from humanity, it is from fear of reprisals.

At this point let us do full justice to the Polish soldiers. The Poles have fought bravely in many places. Their noncommissioned officers did their utmost; their officers lacked intelligence; their supreme command was an absolute failure. Their organization was just Polish.

At this moment, approximately 300,000 Polish soldiers have been taken prisoner; almost 2,000 officers and many generals share the same fate.

But I must also mention that side by side with the acknowledged bravery of many Polish units stand the most loathsome deeds which perhaps have occurred anywhere during the last centuries. Things have happened which I as a soldier in the World War, who only fought on the Western front, never had an opportunity of experiencing.

I am thinking of the thousands of slaughtered Germans, of the bestially butchered women, girls and children, of the countless German soldiers and officers who, when wounded, fell into the hands of the enemy. They were massacred, their eyes were torn out, they were brutally mutilated. And worst of all: the Polish Governor openly admitted by its own broadcasts that airmen who parachuted to the ground were murdered. There were really moments when the question arose whether under these circumstances it was possible to refrain from taking retaliatory action. I have not learnt that a single democratic statesman went to the trouble of protesting against this barbarity. I gave orders to the German air force to wage this war humanely, that is to say, to attack only fighting troops. The Polish Government and supreme command ordered their civilian population to carry on this war as snipers firing from hiding-places. It was very hard not to lose one's self-control. But I should like to emphasize here: Let no one in the democratic States imagine that this state of affairs must needs continue forever. If they want a change of methods they can have it. Here, too, my patience may come to an end.

Despite this treacherous method of making war, which cannot find its equal in the last twenty years or more, our army accounted for this enemy with lightning speed. Still one English paper announced a few days ago that I had dismissed a major-general because I had counted upon a lightning war and was bitterly disappointed at the slow progress of our operations!

This article seems to have been penned by the very strategist who gave the Poles strategic advice for the disposition of their armies. Thus we have utterly defeated Poland in barely eighteen days, and by so doing have brought about a state of affairs which may perhaps enable us some day to confer reasonably and calmly with the representatives of that nation.

In the meanwhile Russia has on her part found it necessary to march into Poland to safeguard the interest of the White Russian and Ukrainian minorities there. We are now experiencing the phenomenon that England and France look upon this co-operation between Germany and Russia as a monstrous crime. One Englishman actually described it as perfidy—after all, they ought to know. I suppose England considers this action perfidious because Democratic England's attempt to co-operate with Bolshevist Russia failed, whereas the attempt of National-Socialist Germany to co-operate with Bolshevist Russia has now succeeded.

At this point I want to make one thing quite clear: Russia remains what she is and Germany will remain what she is. But both regimes have agreed on one point, namely, that neither the Russian nor the German regime is willing to sacrifice a single man in the interest of the Western democracies. A lesson of four years of war is enough for both States and both peoples. They know only too well that first one and then the other might in turn have the doubtful honor of fighting for the ideals of the Western democracies. Both these States and both these peoples therefore refuse this offer with thanks. We intend in the future to look after our own interests, and we have discovered that we can best safeguard those interests if the two greatest peoples and States come to an understanding.

That is all the easier since the British assertion regarding the unlimited aims of German foreign policy is merely a lie. I am glad to be able to prove to British statesmen the falsity of this statement. Those British statesmen who continually declared that Germany intended to rule Europe as far as the Urals will now be delighted to learn the limits of Germany's political intentions.

I believe, however, that it will deprive them of another pretext for war, since they declare that the very reason which forced them to fight against the present regime is because that regime was pursuing unlimited war aims.

Well, Gentlemen of the Great British Empire, Germany's aims are definitely limited. We have discussed the matter with Russia who is after all the neighbor whose interests are most involved. England should therefore actually welcome the fact that an agreement between Germany and Soviet-Russia has been reached, for this agreement at the same time serves to dispel that nightmare about the alleged "world conquest aspirations" of the present German regime which robbed British statesmen of their sleep. They will be relieved to learn that it is not true that Germany either wants today or ever wanted to conquer the Ukraine. Our interests are very limited. Admittedly we are determined to safeguard these interests against any danger and against any aggressor. And the past eighteen days furnish ample proof that we are not prepared to stand any nonsense.

What the final political formation of this big region will finally look like will depend mainly on those two countries whose most vital interests are involved. Germany puts forward limited, but irrevocable demands, and she will realize these demands one way or another. Here, instead of a hotbed of trouble for Europe, Germany and Russia will bring about a situation which later on will be recognized as a relief from the tension. If the Western powers declare that this must not take place, and if England in particular declares that she is determined to oppose such development, if necessary by a war lasting three, or it may be five or even eight years, then I should like to reply as follows:

Firstly, Germany accepted the final fixing of her frontiers in the West and in the South at a heavy sacrifice, in order thereby to bring about a final lasting peace. We believed that we had succeeded in this and I believe that we should have succeeded had it not been to the interests of certain war-mongers to create a disturbance of the peace in Europe.

I have no warlike intentions against either England or France. Nor has the German nation any such intentions. Since I have been in office I have endeavored to re-establish gradually closer relations based on mutual confidence, especially with our opponents in the Great War. I endeavored to remove all the tension once existing between Italy and Germany, and I can now state that my efforts met with complete success, and that the relations established between the two countries are steadily becoming closer and more cordial, based as they are on the close personal and friendly relations between the Duce and myself.

I went even further. I endeavored to obtain the same good relationship with France. Immediately after the settlement of the Saar question I solemnly renounced all claims to a revision of the frontier settlement in the west for all time and not merely in theory, but also in practice. I have used the entire German propaganda service for the purpose of making my attitude known and eliminated everything which could possibly have given rise to doubts or anxiety in Paris.

You know my offers to England. I only had the great aim of concluding an honorable friendly relationship with the British nation. If all this has now been turned down and if England today believes that she must wage war against Germany, I should like to answer as follows: Poland will never rise up again in the form given to her by the Treaty of Versailles. For this not only Germany, but also Russia are in the last resort guarantors. If England now seems to be altering her objectives in this war, i.e. is in reality revealing her true objectives, I should like to comment on this. It is said in England that this war was naturally waged for Poland, but that this was only a secondary issue; more important is the war against the present regime in Germany. They do me the honor of mentioning me by name as the representative of this regime. If this is their real objective in this war, then I should like to give the following answer to the gentlemen in London: You can do me no greater honor than to think of me in this way.

It was a matter of principle to me to educate the German nation in such a way that every regime which is praised by our enemies is regarded as poisonous and therefore rejected by the German nation. If, therefore, the German regime should meet with the approval of Messrs. Churchill, Duff Cooper, Eden, etc., then this regime would at the most be paid by these gentlemen, and thus be intolerable for Germany. This, of course, cannot apply to us. We may therefore consider it rather an honor to be disapproved of by these gentlemen and I can only assure them of one thing: if they were to praise me it might be a matter of profound grief to me. I am proud to be attacked by them. But if they should think they can thereby alienate the German people from me, they must either consider this people to be as utterly lacking in character or as stupid as they themselves are.

Here they make a twofold mistake. National Socialism has not educated Germans in vain for the last twenty years. All of us are men who have experienced nothing but attacks throughout their long struggle. That has only increased the affection of our supporters and bound us all the more insolubly together. And just as the National-Socialist Party fought that battle for years until victory was theirs, so do National-Socialist Germany and the German people take up this new fight today. I can assure those gentlemen that their ridiculous propaganda will no longer act as a disintegrating factor among the German people. Those dabblers ought first to take elementary lessons in propaganda from us. If any nations are to be ruined, it will certainly not be the German nation. We are fighting for our rights; we have no desire for war, having been attacked. Rather will those nations be ruined which only gradually discover what their betrayers had in store for them and what little reason they had to wage war—merely the desire for profit and the political interests of a small clique.

And if people say that this war will last three years, then I can only express my sympathy with the French "poilu." Probably he has no idea what he is fighting for. He simply knows that he will have the honor of fighting for at least three years. As for that, we shall have some say in the matter too.

If, however, it should last three years, there will be no talk of capitulation either in the third or fourth year nor in the fifth, sixth or seventh. Let those gentlemen remember that the generation leading Germany today is not Bethmann-Hollweg's generation. Today they are faced with a Germany with the spirit of Frederick the Great. The German nation will in no way disintegrate in the course of this fight, but will only be all the more firmly bound together. If anything should disintegrate it will be those States which consist of all kinds of races, like our plutocratic world democracies, the so-called world empires, which are solely based on the oppression of and suzerainty over other nations.

We are simply fighting for our existence. We do not believe the lies of those foolish propagandists who would make us believe that the war is aimed at a regime. Just imagine anyone saying: A country is ruled by someone who does not suit us; well then, let us go to war and fight for three years! Of course we should never think of fighting ourselves, and we hunt round the world until we find someone who will fight for us. We supply guns and ammunition, and the others supply grenadiers and soldiers, the man-power. What an utter lack of conscience! I wonder what they would say if we had ever declared:—The actual regime in France or England does not suit us and therefore we shall start a war!—What an appalling lack of conscience! And for that reason millions of men are driven to their death!

But there is one thing about which there cannot be the shadow of a doubt. We shall accept any challenge, and we shall fight as our opponents fight. England is once again resorting to lies and hypocrisy in waging war against women and children. England has a weapon where she believes herself to be unassailable, her naval forces. And now she says: because we cannot be attacked by this weapon, we are justified in using it against the women and children not only of our enemies but even, if necessary, against those of the neutral countries. Once more I would warn them not to be mistaken. The time might come, perhaps very quickly, when we would make use of a weapon by which we cannot be attacked. Let us hope that they will not then suddenly remember the laws of humanity and the impossibility of waging war against women and children. We Germans feel no desire to do so; it is not in our nature. In this campaign I have given orders to spare all towns if at all possible. Of course, if a detachment of soldiers crosses a market-place and is attacked from the air this may unfortunately result in a civilian being a victim. As a principle, however, we have kept to this rule of sparing towns, and not a window has been broken in places where no resistance was offered by mad or criminal elements. In a city like Cracow not a single bomb was dropped except on the railway station, which is a military objective, and on the aerodrome. If in Warsaw, on the other hand, civilians now engage in fighting in every street and from every house the whole city will be involved as a matter of course. Hitherto we have kept these rules, and we should like to continue to do so.

England has the choice of carrying on the blockade in a way compatible with international law or in violation of it. We shall adapt ourselves accordingly. Of one thing there can be no doubt. Since England no longer aims at fighting a regime, but at fighting the German people, and even German women and children, our reaction will correspond to these aims. One thing will turn out to be certain: Germany will never capitulate.

We know full well what the fate of such a Germany would be. Mr. King Hall, commissioned by his lords and masters, has kindly told us that it would take the form of a second Treaty of Versailles, only much worse. Meanwhile we have been favored with detailed illustrations of what is being planned, of how Germany is to be split up, of how the South German countries are to be severed from the Reich, of what Poland is to be given back, what new States are to be created and which princes are to be crowned etc. The German people take note of all this and will fight accordingly.

Let me take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to the German people. They have indeed given wonderful proof during the past weeks not only of their inner solidarity but of truly great courage. Here too National Socialism has wrought a change. Some may say that the German people are not so enthusiastic as in 1914. They are far more enthusiastic; the difference is that today this enthusiasm is burning within their hearts and makes men hard. It is not a superficial jingo-patriotism which does no more than cheer, it is fervent determination. It is the enthusiasm of men who know war, who have been through a war. They have not entered upon it frivolously, but once forced into it they will fight as did the former German lines.

Just as on my visit to the front lines I saw all those regiments and divisions, young and old alike in the same frame of mind, so I see before me the German people as a whole. We have no need of jingo-patriotism today. We all know how terrible these happenings are. But we are fully determined to bring these happenings to a successful conclusion, come what may. None of us are better than those men and women of the past. The sacrifices they made were no lighter than the sacrifices we have to make today. None of the sacrifices expected of us are any harder than the sacrifices expected in the past.

We are determined, no matter what may happen, to go through with this fight and to hold our own. Our only wish is that God Almighty, who has now blessed our weapons, may enlighten the other nations, giving them the wisdom to recognize the futility of this war, this battle of nations, and that He may let them reflect on the blessings of a peace which they sacrifice simply because a handful of infernal war-mongers and war-profiteers want to drive the nations into war.

This is my first visit to the city of Danzig. It has shared the fate of the German nation for many centuries. Danzig and its sons fought in the Great War, and since then the city has endured a particularly hard lot. Now, after 20 years, she re-enters the great comity of the German nation. Much has changed in the Reich since then. What was formerly a State of classes and castes has now become the German people's State.

A State which was once largely determined and governed by the interests of individual groups has now become a Reich which belongs to the German people and to no one else. The ideals governing our Reich have been instilled into this city for many, many years. Indeed, they have helped to rouse that spirit which made it possible to preserve the German character of the town, filling it with that faith which made it hold out and wait for the hour of liberation.

The hour has come. You may judge of my own happiness that Providence has called me to realize the longings of the best of Germans. You may judge, too, how deeply moved I am at being able to speak to you and to the whole population in this venerable place of this city and land.

Once I made up my mind not to visit Danzig until this city had returned to the German Reich. I wished to enter it as its liberator. Today, this joy has been my lot.

In this joy I see, and take away with me, my abundant reward for many hours, days, weeks and months of care and worry. You must look on me, my dear people of Danzig, as the emissary of the German Reich and the whole German people which now receives you through me into our eternal community from which you will never again be dismissed.

Whatever hardships may befall individual Germans in the coming months or even years will be easy to bear in the knowledge of the insoluble fellowship which enfolds and holds together our great people as a whole.

We receive you in this community, firmly resolved never to let you go again, and this resolve is of vital importance for the whole Movement and for the whole German people. Danzig was, is and will remain German as long as there is a German nation and a German Reich. Generations will come and generations will go. They will all look back on the twenty years of the separation of this city from the Reich as an unhappy period of your history. But they will not only recall the shame of the year 1918, they will also recollect with pride the time of the rise and resurrection of the German Reich which has now collected all the German tribes and unites them into one whole. We are determined to stand up for this Reich until death. Long live this Germany with its national comity of all German tribes, the great German Reich!


{Note:  The word "fooling" in the above text may be in error, but it appears as such in the original printed text I have.  I do not have recourse to the original German, so I cannot check further.  I would appreciate anyone out there with the German text to contact me (see top page for e-mail).  – JR, ed. Nov. 2003}